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CNN NEWSROOM

Searchers Return to Mountain as Weather Clears; Missouri Man Shoots Children, Wife, Self; Senator Johnson's Condition Improves

Aired December 16, 2006 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLARA HALL, SON LOST ON MOUNTAIN: God is sending his soldiers today to save our sons.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: The hunt intensifies today for three climbers lost on Oregon's Mt. Hood. We're headed live to the scene of the search for the latest.

Plus a powerful storm hits the Northwest leaving over a million people without electricity.

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: And temperatures tonight in Seattle will plummet. We're looking at them dropping all the way into the 20s. That's bad news for the many of folks without power tonight. I'll have your full weather forecast coming up.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks, Bonnie.

Hello and welcome to the CNN NEWSROOM. I am Fredricka Whitfield. We start with a quick look at some of the other stories making news this evening.

A Missouri man has shot and killed three of his children, their mother and another woman, a fourth child is hospitalized with life threatening wounds. The man's motive is not clear. He was found at the scene dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Potentially fatal bacteria has sickened seven children at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles. One of the children died. Although the exact cause of death is not clear, authorities say the source of the outbreak appears to have been an instrument that was not properly cleaned.

Senator Tim Johnson is said to be improving. Doctors say Johnson remains in critical condition but has opened his eyes and responded to voices since emergency brain surgery on Wednesday.

And rival Palestinians stormed the streets of Gaza after a stunning announcement by President Mahmud Abbas. Abbas announced a plan to stage early elections, a move denounced as a coup by the radical party Hamas which controls the Palestinian parliament. More on this in just a few minutes.

ANNOUNCER: You're watching CNN, your severe weather headquarters.

WHITFIELD: And here is what we know right now about the desperate search for three missing men, lost on Mt. Hood. About 60 seasoned climbers embarked up a mountain this morning after a sudden break in the weather. But after days relentless snow, authorities say the searchers face avalanche conditions now. The team started their search at 6,000 feet and later reached the 8,000 foot mark.

Standing by live with the latest on the search, CNN's Chris Lawrence in Mt. Hood, Oregon.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, at several points throughout the morning and into the early afternoon, the rescue teams that are flying around the mountain have had several near misses where they spotted something that they thought could have been the climbers and later it turned out to be not a human being at all. Or skiers who were actually part of the rescue effort.

When you talk to some of the experienced pilots here, they'll tell you that's to be expected the first somewhat clear day. You know when they're really getting their first eyes on these parts of the mountain.

And had you hear the conditions up there, it is even easier to understand, even though the win winds died down here on the ground, the winds seem to be still gusting pretty ferociously up on the mountain. And that snow is so powdery, we've heard at some points it has been literally just whiteout conditions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERIFF JOE WAMPLER, HOOD RIVER COUNTY, OREGON: Right now it is hard for them to move because they're traveling in deep snow for one. And so they're having to utilize skis and snowshoes to stay on top. So they don't sink clear down. So it is hard to get around.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAWRENCE: Yeah, it is hard and the families certainly recognize and respect that. Earlier today they thanked the rescue workers who are putting their lives on the line to look for their loved ones. And also wanted to thank people around the State of Oregon and around the country who have sent them well wishes about their -- the three young men.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HALL: You've outpoured with your hearts to us. Families and friends across the nation, across the world. You are saying your prayers to us. I'm very thankful and I really appreciate that. Whenever Brian climbed a mountain, our goal was every night we're going to look at the same moon. Last night I saw the moon. I'm very hopeful about that.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LAWRENCE: And there was certainly a lot of resources being dedicated to this. A Chinook is flying around, two Black Hawk helicopters have been buzzing by the mountain and a C-130 has also been making several trips also using advanced technology, looking for thermal heat prints that perhaps may give them an indication of where the climbers might be.

Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: All right. Chris Lawrence. Thanks for the update from near Mt. Hood.

Later from the NEWSROOM, a closer look at what the missing climbers face. That from CNN's Rick Sanchez.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is a biting cold. It is hard to see -- it is downright painful. The question now is if you're stuck in these conditions, what do you do? How do you survive?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Well, perhaps you'll never be in such elements but what if you do end up there? At the bottom of the hour, a special report on how to survive a blizzard.

Also, out west, in the Northwest that is, utility crews are working overtime today to try to restore power to hundreds of thousands of customers. Yesterday's wind storm now is being blamed for at least four deaths and dozens of people have ingested hazardous fumes from improvised heating arrangements.

Live for us now from Seattle, reporter Katherine Barrett. Katherine?

KATHERINE BARRETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, that is right. It is day two of damage control and debris cleanup here. Still more than half a million people without power in the state. It is trees like this one behind me here that give our state the name of the Evergreen state. They're gorgeous in the summer f you see a bald eagle or osprey land in them.

But when you get a storm like we had early Friday morning with 70 mile an hour wind gusts, they become flying javelins or Paul Bunyan sized hatchets that can split a house in two. One Seattle suburb, very hard hit is the very close in suburb of Mercer Island. We heard this story there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CORDELIA KNEBEL, HOUSE SITTER: I headed to the kitchen and I could barely see that the tree had come through the glass. And then I called the Fire Department. And at that point the tree hadn't come all the way through. And so it what it was doing, it was kind of resting on the roof. And then gradually it kept inching its way so the ceiling kept caving in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BARRETT: Fortunately no one was hurt in that house or in the house behind me. Though this big evergreen did take out a family's own Christmas tree. Still there are power lines that have been brought down by the trees and they damaged the main transmission grid for the largest utility in the state of Washington.

Crews are working not just to restore lines to individual homes but they've got to get the power flowing from those hydroelectric dams to this whole area before a lot of people will be able to turn the lights back on or, in fact, the heat.

In many cases gas stations are without power. So they're unable to turn on their pumps. That means very long lines and some frustrated people driving around, worrying they're going to run out of gas just to find a place where they can fuel up. People, of course, are fueling up not just their cars, but they're filling gas cans to fuel portable generators with which they're trying to stay warm, stay fed and stay comfortable as the temperatures drop into the 20s.

One other note, Seattleites are also struggling to find their over favorite fuel, their morning latte. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: All right. Katherine Barrett. Thanks so much for that update out of Seattle. Pretty severe conditions. And it would be nice, Bonnie if you could tell folks that a warm front will be moving in, especially those who are without power trying to figure out how to stay warm.

(WEATHER)

WHITFIELD: Wow. Incredible images that we have been seeing all day. Thanks so much, Bonnie.

Well, overseas now to Ipswich, England. British police are combing through new clues that could help them catch a suspected serial killer. They released video of one of the murdered prostitutes in hopes of jogging the public's memory and perhaps generating something new tips. Our Alphonso Van Marsh has the latest on the investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALPHONSO VAN MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are the last known images of 24-year-old Anna Lee Alderton caught on closed-circuit TV aboard a train. These pictures from the day the pregnant prostitute went missing, police say they're desperate to learn what happened between this moment and the discovery of Alderton's body a week later.

STEWART GULL, CHIEF SUPT., SUFFOLK POLICE: If anyone saw Anna Lee after the evening of Sunday, December 3rd, we want to hear from them now. VAN MARSH: With the bodies of five women found around the town of Ipswich in just ten days, all of them naked, police appeals for information have generated a huge response.

Police say they received more than 9,000 phone calls in the last week. Yet the lead investigator says people who think they have information must call without delay.

GULL: Officers dealing with inquiries have on a number of occasions spoken to people who have had useful information but haven't reported it immediately because they feel it may be trivial or irrelevant. They need to let us be the judge of that.

VAN MARSH: Police say other prostitutes, drug dealers who supplied some of the victims with heroin, as well as the prostitutes clients should get in touch without fear of prosecution.

The murders have shocked this quiet town in eastern England. On Saturday afternoon before Ipswich Town's home football match, another appeal for help as well as prayers and a moment of silence.

(on camera): More than 300 police officers are now involved in the investigation as well as criminal psychologists. Police are convinced that the same person may be responsible for all five murders and hope that by releasing images of Anna Lee Alderton, well that might bring then one step closer to finding her killer. Alphonso Van Marsh, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: A risky day in space this morning. Take a look at this as astronauts work outside the International Space Station, Miles O'Brien is next.

And one person is out while another appears to be in. The new score sheet in the race for the presidency coming up.

Plus, the White House response to a call for the new Palestinian elections. We're headed live to Washington next in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: The Palestinian political crisis deepens. Today Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for early elections. The move comes amid escalating violence between supporters of his Fatah movement and the rival Hamas party. Efforts to form a unity government between the parties have been at a stalemate for months. Palestinian security forces say at least 13 people were injured today in clashes between the two sides.

The White House, meantime, is reacting positively to Abbas' proposal. For details now let's go to CNN's Kathleen Koch at the White House. Kathleen?

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, the White House has obviously been watching the increasing violence and this crisis within the Palestinian government with great concern. Since the January elections put the militant Palestinian group in power, the Bush administration has refused to deal with Hamas. The president insisting that it must first renounce its express desire to destroy Israel.

But certainly no one here at the same time wants the struggle between President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction and its Hamas rivals to spiral into an all out civil war. So in a statement, the White House today said, quote, "while the elections are an internal matter, we hope this helps bring the violence to an end and the formation of a Palestinian Authority committed to the quartet principles."

Those principles are the peace plan for the region, drafted by the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations. Its progress has basically been stalled, though, since those January elections.

The pressure has been building, however, on the part of not only Arab allies but also Great Britain for the United States to make the Israel-Palestinian issue a greater priority. As a matter of fact, British Prime Minister Tony Blair is in the region today. There you see him in Cairo, Egypt. He also praised Abbas' call today for new elections and urged the entire international community to throw its support between the Palestinian president. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: All right. Kathleen Koch at the White House. Thanks for the update.

KOCH: You bet.

WHITFIELD: High tech repair, which is under way, way up above. Hundreds of miles above us all. Take a look at this, live pictures of astronauts hard at work outside the International Space Station. CNN's Miles O'Brien tells us what they're up to now.

And later, ever want revenge on drivers driving you crazy on the roads? It is payback time. In a rather docile kind of way. Straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Checking news across America now. More trouble for Tank Johnson, number 99 right there. He is sidelined for tomorrow's Chicago Bears Tampa Bay game. A man calling himself Johnson's bodyguard was killed overnight at a Chicago nightclub. Police say Johnson was there at the time, but it is unclear whether he may have been involved in the shooting. It follows a string of problems for Johnson including three arrests in the past 18 months.

In New York, a massive march down Fifth Avenue. Protesting the fatal shooting of a groom on his wedding day. The Reverend Al Sharpton and Harry Belafonte were joined by Trent Benafield (ph) and hundreds of others. Benafield was wounded in late November when police shot his friend, Sean Bell, outside a strip club.

Miss USA is in danger of losing her tiara. Billionaire Donald Trump is expected to reveal Tara Conner's fate on Tuesday. As franchise owner, Mr. Trump says he's not happy with the Kentucky-born beauty's reported misbehavior. Critics say she is tarnishing the sanctified image of beauty queens by drinking too much and partying too much as well.

WHITFIELD: Well, high overhead. Half the International Space Station is dark. Right now two NASA astronauts are rewiring part of the orbiting observatory. Why? Our Miles O'Brien can bring us up to date on all of that. Miles?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you very much, Fred. Yes, they're actually rewiring it to put in a permanent wiring scheme. For the past six years, the U.S. side of the International Space Station has had a temporary wiring set up. And they are getting rid of what essentially are some jumper cables that have been up there for six years.

Take a look at that wonderful picture. That is Sunny Williams on her first spacewalk no doubt enjoying the view a little bit as she focuses, though, on this task at hand, a series of cable disconnections and reconnections.

There you see another shot of her. Take a look at those white circles with black dots on them. That is used to allow people who are running those robotic arms and moving those big pieces of the space station to get a three dimensional picture of it using a special computer program.

In any case, they're doing really well on their timeline. They're about two hours into the spacewalk. And so far everything has gone very well. A lot of close coordination with the ground controllers to make sure everything is off when it should be off, on when it should be on.

Inside the space station, Fredricka, they have to use jumper cables in order to keep certain systems on when the power bus goes down. Looks like 1920s switch board at some points to get all that done.

They still have the possibility, if they stay ahead here, of taking a look-see at this problem solar array that we have been telling you all about.

WHITFIELD: Now, she's out there solo? Because earlier when you showed us pictures there were two astronauts out there at a time.

O'BRIEN: No. No. There is always two out there. He's just not in the picture at the moment.

WHITFIELD: Got you.

O'BRIEN: They're not always necessarily side by side, but they do operate under the buddy system. Like scuba diving I guess.

WHITFIELD: I wouldn't want to be out there alone.

O'BRIEN: No. You wouldn't want to.

WHITFIELD: No thank you.

O'BRIEN: No. Anyway, take a look at this shot here. This is what they tried to do on Wednesday, trying to put that solar array back in its case and it was just like folding up an old map and it just got all fouled up. And they have tried everything to try to get it back in its case, wiggling and jiggling. They told the astronauts do some serious exercise of the space station to wiggle the whole complex. They rotated the boom there a little bit. This is increased by 10 times speed. None of it to any avail. They need to get it back inside eventually. It is not anything that is getting in the way of anything at the moment. But eventually they are going to need to do it to move it where it needs to be permanently.

If they have some time they may go look at it and maybe do a little bit of jiggling themselves before the space ...

WHITFIELD: There we can see it all compressed, what it is supposed to look like had when it is all expressed like an accordion. All right, Miles O'Brien, thanks so much.

O'BRIEN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Well, what would you do if you were caught in a blizzard?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: It is a biting cold. It is hard to see. In fact it is downright painful. The question now is if you were stuck in these conditions, what do you do? How do you survive?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Our own Rick Sanchez found out the hard way or maybe the easy way. Exactly what you need to do when trying to survive the storm.

And who's in and who's out? CNN's senior political analyst Bill Schneider will join me to go over the latest moves in the race for president.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Half past the hour. Here's what's happening right now in Kansas City, Missouri. A gunman kills five people and then himself. Three of the dead, the suspect's own children. A fourth child is in critical condition. Police have yet to disclose a possible motive.

A Los Angeles hospital shut down its pediatric and neonatal ICUs due to a bacteria outbreak. Seven children have gotten sick including a baby who might have died from the infection. Officials believe the source was a medical instrument that may have not have been properly disinfected. Encouraging signs of recovery from South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson. The 59-year-old remains in critical condition after emergency brain surgery on Wednesday. But he is reportedly responsive to voices and has opened his eyes and can move his limbs.

A wind-walloped Pacific Northwest tries to pick up today. Six people were killed in the region's worst windstorm in more than a dozen years. One and a half million people had their power knocked out. It is it has now been restored to about half of that amount of people. But it could be days before everyone's electricity is back up and running.

And we have been getting quite a few good I-reports of storm damage in the Pacific Northwest. Bonnie Schneider joins with us more on that and today's weather picture.

(WEATHER REPORT)

BONNIE SCHNEIDER: And you have to be impressed with Rebecca Steiner of Brier, Washington. She was driving on 35th Avenue on her way to work on Friday morning. And she stopped to take these pictures. And, wow. It's amazing that car is OK. You see the tree practically falling on it. It looks like it is not too damaged.

But that's not the only picture she showed us on 35th Avenue. We actually have a couple of others. This tree leaning right against a house. And you can see the breaks in the clouds there. It's just the early morning time. She said that all of the power in the area was completely knocked out. So she also wants to give kudos to the energy workers that were working on restoring power at this because she saw a lot of them out on the road. A lot of folks had to slow down on four way stops because the traffic lights weren't working. So she said it was a tough ride to work on Friday. I'm sure it was.

And it you have an iReport that you would like to send us of some of the wind damage or the snow or anything that has to do with the weather, I'd particularly like to see it. And you send it to CNN.com/exchange. And that's where you will file your iReport. So we'd love to see that and we'll certainly put it on the air here at CNN.com.

(WEATHER REPORT)

WHITFIELD: Well, more now on that massive search for three climbers on Mt. Hood, Oregon. Expert mountaineers are scaling the slope right now, searching for those men. They've been missing for over a week now in pretty brutal conditions. Helicopters, a plane and unmanned drones are aiding in the search overhead.

The families of the missing climbers, they hope a break in the weather will help rescuers today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LOU ANN CAMERON, KELLY JAMES' MOTHER: Everybody, the whole town, the whole world has turned out for us and supported us and been praying for us. My church in Little Rock, Arkansas, they've been praying. And many, churches and people have been praying for us. And I know my son's coming down today. It's my birthday an he wouldn't miss my birthday. I know.

MARIA KIM, JERRY COOKE'S MOTHER: I know that God is watching over them and keeping them safe. I am very excited today because today's weather finally getting better. God is sending his soldier today to save our sons.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: And we're expecting a news conference from Oregon at top of the hour. We'll bring that to you live at 5:00 p.m. Eastern when it happens.

Well, what is the best way to survive if you're caught in a snowstorm on top of a mountain?

CNN's Rick Sanchez learns some life saving techniques in the Colorado Rockies, where being unprepared can be a deadly mistake.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are places on Earth where you feel God's fury, but I can't imagine any of them being any worst than this that we're feeling right like this. This is almost 12,000 feet. This is the continental divide. I've been in enough hurricanes to know what hurricane force gusts winds feel like. This is easily 60 mile-an-hour gusts that are rolling through here. At times it's difficult to stand up. It's a biting cold. It's hard to see. In fact, it's downright painful. The question now is, if you're stuck in these conditions, what do you do? How do you survive? We've enlisted the help of two renowned mountaineering experts who teach the first order of business is to build a snow cave. Without it, you will not survive. We were to get in there, into that cave. Get on our pack, to insulate us from the snow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay warm, huddled close together.

MARCIANO: Even in a snow cave, an avalanche can still slam you, but experienced mountaineers avoided by taking into account the slope and snow density when figuring out where to camp.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't see the top of that peak, could that start an avalanche at any time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not tall enough right now to start an avalanche; if it did slide it has no energy.

MARCIANO: But by far, the biggest killer is the weather itself. Within hours of being exposed mountaineers can suffer hypothermia, which causes them to be strangely delusional.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eventually you think that the snow is really warm and soft and lay down and go to sleep forever.

MARCIANO: It is why some victims are found disrobed; they actually believe it's warm in freezing weather. Experts recommend not going into these conditions without a shovel, a back pack, a head lamp, a compact stove to melt water, at least a sleeping bag, say even with these items, under extreme conditions, you'll still only be able to hold on for so long.

Rick Sanchez, CNN, Loveland Pass, Colorado.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Well, one Democrat is out and a Republican might be in in the 2008 race for the White House. Just two weeks after showing interest in a run, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh has announced he will not be mounting a campaign after all. In a statement, the Democrat said the odds were always going to be long for relative unknown like himself, his words.

On the Republican side, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson is forming a presidential exploratory committee. Thompson served as Health and Human Services Secretary under George W. Bush.

Well, Senator Bayh's press release says the race for the White House can be a little bit like David and Goliath. And he says there may be too many Goliaths around at this time.

I talked about the race with CNN's senior political analyst Bill Schneider.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Let's talk about the pool of potentials. Evan Bayh, thanks, but no thanks. That was awfully fast.

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. Well, he tested the waters put his toe in, discovered that the waters weren't too friendly because there is so much action for Senator Clinton, Senator Obama, a lot of expectations that Edwards could make a serious run, even Al Gore.

But I don't see or hear -- and he probably didn't see or hear a lot of people out there saying we're waiting for Evan Bayh. You know he's a moderate. And you don't find that kind of excitement normally out there for a moderate candidate.

WHITFIELD: And so what about Tommy Thompson? Is he serious, forming an exploratory committee, same thing, just kind of putting the toe in the water?

BILL SCHNEIDER: Well, yes, he's joined the Explorers Club. He's exploring the possibility. No guarantee that he'll run. But he see what's going on.

Look, there isn't anyone in the Republican race who really carries the banner of the Bush legacy because Vice President Cheney says he's not going to run. So why not a member of the Bush cabinet? He's as qualified as anyone else to carry that banner.

WHITFIELD:: Well, let's talk about the serious contenders in the Democrats' camp. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and even John Edwards. You know, it comes down to not just popularity among the voters, but it comes down to popularity within the party. It's got to take the Democratic party to, you know, throw their weight into endorsing either or any of these candidates.

BILL SCHNEIDER: That's right.

WHITFIELD: Who's serious here?

BILL SCHNEIDER: Well, I think there are a number of candidates who come out of the top of the list when you ask Democrats who they favor for their nomination right now, two years ahead of time. And look at this list of names because one of them stands. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, John Kerry, Al Gore. Now, those are all familiar names. One of them is new.

All the others -- Obama is the new name -- all the others look to the past: Clinton, Edwards, Gore, Kerry. They all have to do with the Democrats' past. That's why there is a lot of excitement about Obama, because they say he's the only one who doesn't have a lot of political baggage.

On the other hand, a lot of people would say he doesn't have enough political baggage. He's only had two years in the Senate. A little experience in the State Senate in Illinois, but not a lot of experience in international affairs.

WHITFIELD: All right. Something else Democrats are trying to resolve, where to have the next convention. New York, understandable. But Denver, Colorado? Apparently a city that is seriously being considered. Why?

BILL SCHNEIDER: That's right. Denver and New York are the top contenders. Why Denver? Because Democrats have done very well in Colorado in the last couple of election cycles. That's one of the states -- even in 2004, when Kerry lost, Democrats made big gains in Colorado, took over the legislature. Now they have the governor. They elected a senator, Salazar. They've made gains in Congress. They've made a lot of strides in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain states, where they've never been expected to do well. They have a lot of governors there on the strength of growing Hispanic voters, who are very strongly Democratic. A lot of yuppies are moving there, wealthy, aging baby boomer who tend to vote Democratic. They don't like the influence of Christian conservatives in the Republican Party. They're more or less libertarian.

And there are a lot of people with a lot of money in Colorado giving it to the Democratic Party to fund liberal, Democratic candidates. So they've made big gains.

WHITFIELD: All right.

Bill Schneider, thanks so much. Appreciate your input, as always.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Bill Schneider, part of the best political team on television.

Well, will a new warning on some anti-depressants keep some patients from getting the medicines that they need? We'll get answers from our Dr. Bill Lloyd, coming up next in the NEWSROOM.

And there is nothing worse than dodging reckless drivers on your way to grandma's house, right? We'll find out how you can fight back in a very safe kind of way this holiday driving season.

And later this evening, "Time Magazine" announced its Person of the Year. The title goes to someone or something that's affected the world and the way we live for better or for worse. The announcement will be made right here on CNN at 8:00 Eastern.

And with the decision just hours away, CNN's Carol Lin looks at some of the contenders.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROMESH RATNESAR, "TIME" WORLD EDITOR: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is the president of Iran, this year kind of emerged as a dominant player on the world stage.

CAROL LIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Iran's president also emerges as a candidate for "Time Magazine's" person of the year.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez gets a nod as Person of the Year after he uses the United Nations as a bully pulpit.

Rounding out the list for global influence: North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Il.

RATNESAR: The real concern with Kim Jong-Il is not so much that he would use ever a nuclear weapon, but that is the head of a really desperate, poor, starving country he would be tempted to sell some of the technology needed to develop a weapon to other states that are interested or even to terrorist groups.

LIN: On the domestic front, the nominees are Donald Rumsfeld, who stepped aside as second of defense. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice makes the list.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Thank you all very much.

LIN: As does incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

AL GORE, FMR. VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I used to be the next president of the United States of America.

LIN: Former Vice President Al Gore gets a nomination for jumping back into the spotlight with his film on global warming.

JOSH TYRANGIEL, MANAGING EDITOR, TIME.COM: You're a politician and you are associated with an ideology, Democratic, Republican, and what he did is strip all that context away and come off as a guy who cares very much about a particular issue. That's a magnificent transformation.

LIN: Person of the Year doesn't have to be a person. YouTube is nominated for kicking off a revolution as millions of people share videos on the world wide web.

TYRANGIEL: So many of the interesting YouTube videos have been from American soldiers in Iraq. And you actually get to connect with them on a -- in a way that the nightly news never shows you, that newspapers can't convey on the same emotional level.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: More harm than good? The FDA wants more warnings put on the labels of anti-depressant drugs. But would the warnings keep medications from those who could use them the most?

Dr. Bill Lloyd weighs in on the double edged pharmaceutical sword.

All right. Good to see you.

Lots of mixed messages, right? Because the same agency which says, "OK, this is safe to take, we encourage you to do so" is now saying, "Wait a minute. Not so fast."

DR. BILL LLOYD, UNIV. OF CALIF.-DAVIS MED. CTR.: Yes, Fredricka. This speaks to the quality of what they call phase four studies. After a drug is approved they keep researching it. Now that people who need the medication are taking it, and we're talking about millions of people taking this medication, they get a better view as to how patients are responding to the medication, which is very different than those clinical studies that are done before the medication is approved.

And now they're finding at the FDA that there's a tendency for young people receiving these anti-depressants to be more open and talking about suicidal thoughts. Now, it's important we note nobody committed suicide in the study that we're talking about here. They simply talk more openly about it.

And the FDA said wait a minute, this could be a problem and so we need to expand our warnings, not limit the drug, but expand the warnings so that doctors, families and patients are aware that there may be an increased risk in suicide for young people taking these anti-depressants.

WHITFIELD: So, expanding the warnings, for example, would mean what? LLOYD: Well, they use what they call a black box. And anyone who has seen that product insert, Fredricka, even for cough syrup it runs page after page with the tiniest little type. By using a black box and large fonts, they're able to alert the reader, "Hey, come over here, pay attention, we want to tell you something that's very important."

And all they're going to say is that there is concern that there may be an increased risk for suicidal thoughts or suicidal behavior in young people taking this medication.

Now imagine a family that's looking at this for the first time. They would go nuts.

WHITFIELD: No kidding.

LLOYD: So, it's important for physicians, therapists -- by the way, most people who prescribe anti-depressants are not psychologists, they're primary care provider. So doctors and pharmacists need to get up front and when prescribing these medications, carefully counsel the families that there is some data out there that says there may be more suicidal thoughts.

We're not sure if it's really the medication. Fredricka, maybe the people that are taking the medication now, because the medication is working, they're more communicative. That is, they're more willing to talk about what they were thinking about all along. We don't have the final answer yet on how the biology of these medications actually works and if there's any real role in suicidal behavior.

WHITFIELD: So does it also mean that with these expanded warnings there's an underlying encouragement or maybe discouragement of maybe young people? Because they're more vulnerable, maybe they really shouldn't be taking such anti-depressants at all?

LLOYD: There's and enormous uproar in the therapeutic community about this. Fredricka, did you know that in countries where young people are prescribed anti-depressants, the suicide rate is much lower than in communities where anti-depressants are not available?

These medications actually work. And it's true, they're a small percentage of people, a few per hundred thousand that are at risk for suicide. Fredricka, there are many Americans taking cancer chemotherapy and they still die from their cancer. No medication is perfect. And no medication will help everyone.

But to ban these powerful, helpful medications from millions of people with mood disorders would be just as bad as neglecting to tell the general population there's a small risk and there's things that you can do if you're at risk.

WHITFIELD:: Dr. Bill Lloyd, thanks so much. Always good to see you.

LLOYD: We'll talk again soon.

WHITFIELD: All right. Well, more of the NEWSROOM straight ahead with Carol Lin.

LIN: Fascinating. I get wrapped up in what he's saying.

WHITFIELD: I know. I love hearing Dr. Lloyd all the time.

LIN: All the time, exciting.

Coming up at 5:00, as you know, we have this briefing that we're going to be taking on the climbers on Mt. Hood, see if there's any new development. Our Chris Lawrence is standing.

I'm also going to be talking with one of the rescue team to see how that's going. So we're going get an update in about -- I'd say about half hour from now in the 5:00 hour.

Also at 10:00, our special, "A Paycheck Away". We're focusing on a whole group, Fredricka, that you and I know. They're working people. They have jobs. And something goes wrong, and they are one paycheck away literally from losing their housing, losing their car, something happens. It could just be the brakes go out and don't have the $300 to fix the car.

WHITFIELD: And it really could be anyone. Anyone.

LIN: We focus on people -- there's a woman who literally stands outside the three bedroom house that she lived in just a year ago. And she points to this house and she said that was my house. And I'm going live in a house just like this next year. I've got to get it together. But there are people who are doing everything right and still things go wrong.

We're also going to offer some solutions and, of course, we're going to hear from Lou Dobbs about what he thinks is causing this problem.

WHITFIELD: Right. We look to all of that.

Thanks a lot, Carol.

Well, here's a question for you. If you've ever wanted to fight back against reckless drivers, what would you do? Well, you've come to the right place. The story is straight ahead in the NEWSROOM. And we're not encouraging violence, we're saying that this is perhaps a more clever option.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Well, perhaps you feel like getting back at the speed demon who cut you off in traffic. Well, a new website allows motorists to vent their frustrations on the information superhighway.

Gary Nurenberg logs on to platewire.com.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow, look at that. Oh, my gosh, that amazing. Spun out of control. Hits some trash cans.

GARY NURENBERG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Although high speed chases often end up in the news with the bad guys crashing and getting caught, the dangerous drivers most of us encounter usually get away with it.

Long time friends Luke Sevenski and Mark Buckman say they almost had five accidents because of bad drivers on one 17 mile commute in February.

MARK BUCKMAN, CO-FOUNDER, PLATEWIRE.COM: Right as we got on the highway, we had to deal with the driver. We look over, the guy was literally driving like this, with one leg in the back seat searching through a box of file folders, searching for a file. Ran us off -- actually ran us off the highway and when we got back on, we're looking at him like, "What's going on?" And he starts yelling and flipping us the bird.

NURENBERG: The experience prompted Mark and Luke to found platewire.com, a site where drivers list the license plate and react to other drivers they've encountered.

LUKE SEVENSKI, CO-FOUNDER, PLATEWIRE.COM: Well, the biggest thing that I've actually seen is people not using the left lane for passing. A lot of people use the left lane to travel in and it does get frustrating for other people that want to pass.

NURENBERG: It did for someone who posted an incident in Lompa (ph), California on Friday. Quote, "This inbreeder thinks it's a good idea to ride in the left lane and slow the flow of traffic in both lanes by not letting anyone else pass. Jerk."

Fairfax, Virginia, "A green Buick. This woman was actually watching video on her phone while attempting to merge."

It's not all bad. You leave a wink.

Ft. Myers, Florida, "A blue Subaru, "Very beautiful woman stopped at a traffic signal. Beware of being love struck."

SGT. RUSSELL NEWELL, MARYLAND STATE POLICE: It's very clever idea.

NURENBERG: Maryland State Police Sergeant Russell Newell says listing a grievance doesn't stop the danger.

NEWELL: We urge anybody that observes the aggressive driving to call us immediately.

BUCKMAN: We've actually had a state trooper from the state of Washington. He prints out the local ones and he gives it to his fellow officers to keep an eye on them.

NURENBERG (on camera): If nothing else, unleashing road rage in the anonymity of cyberspace may cut down on fistfights in real life.

Gary Nurenberg, CNN, WASHINGTON.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD:: And out west, a news conference on the missing Oregon climbers is coming up next. We'll bring that to you live.

Plus, the health of the imprisoned terrorist known as the Blind Sheik is said to be deteriorating rapidly. Why that has the FBI on alert this evening. That's coming up in the NEWSROOM.

Carol Lin is here at the top of the hour.

I'm Fredricka Whitfield. And you are in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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